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-   -   Rats' 4 defensemen labor for final 40; Albany beats Springfield (http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/showthread.php?t=128516)

MIKE4DEVILS 02-09-2005 09:39 PM

Rats' 4 defensemen labor for final 40; Albany beats Springfield
 
ALBANY, N.Y. (February 9, 2005). In a game in which the Albany River Rats started with only five blueliners and finished with only four, the four remaining men on the blue line played all of the second and third periods without any other help, Albany prevailed, 3-1, over the Springfield Falcons.

Rats' defenseman, Krisjanis Redlihs, took a hard hit on the boards to make a play late in the first period. The hard check by Mike Egener of the Falcons may have dislocated Redlihs' shoulder, and he never returned to play. The Rats scrambled to cover with only Bobby Allen, Matt DeMarchi, Ray Schultz and Alex Brooks for the remainder of the game, including two penalty kill situations.

It was a well-earned victory for the River Rats, with plenty of scoring chances, many repelled by a very good Brian Eklund in net for Springfield. Albany mustered 41 shots overall, and maybe a dozen decent or better scoring chances.

At the other end, a controversial goal by Springfield defenseman, Nikos Tselios, that referee Bob Langdon initially waved off only to change his mind at the next whistle after consulting with linesman Frank Murphy, spoiled what would have been a shutout for Ari Ahonen. The Falcons' defender pinched in and slammed a slapper that appeared to hit the underside of the cross-bar and snap back out. After Tselios complained to the referee at the first stoppage in play and linesman Murphy backed up his complaint, the goal was awarded to Springfield. Certainly a close call either way.

The River Rats were momentarily stunned, as the Falcons goal early in the third period recaptured momentum that had, only moments earlier, seemed to shift decisively in favor of the Rats. Zach Parise had scored shorthanded (with an assist to goaltender Ari Ahonen) in the second minute of the third period to give Albany a 2-0 lead. By then the Rats seemed in control, but the controversial award of a goal (initially disallowed by the referee) to Springfield suddenly made it a one-goal game.

Albany had taken a slim, but nonetheless well-earned, one-goal lead midway through the first period, off of Ryan Murphy's rebound effort. Pascal Rheaume centered for Zach Parise on the right side and Murphy crashed the left side of the net to bang home a rebound.

The Rats dominated the first period, 16-9 in shots, and in scoring chances as well. Hard work in the corners and efforts to get to the net were rewarded, even though a stingy Brian Eklund snuffed out some great chances.

At the other end of the ice, Ari Ahonen turned aside 24 of 25 shots, including a nifty breakaway by Shane Willis early in the first period when the game was scoreless.

The Rats' bench, and Albany fans as well, had a moment of panic midway through the second period when defenseman Matt DeMarchi was hit into the boards and seemed unconscious for several minutes. Apparently he was only dazed, rather than seriously hurt, but if he had not returned to play, it would have left Albany with only three defensemen, since Krisjanis Redlihs left in the first period with an apparent shoulder injury.

The Rats sealed the victory with an empty-net goal by captain Pascal Rheaume, his 100th career tally as a River Rat.

The three stars went to the Albany goal scorers: third, to Ryan Murphy, with a goal and an assist; second, to Zach Parise, with one of each, with his goal being shorthanded and the game-winner; and, first, to Pascal Rheaume with a marker and a helper.

All three forwards recognized in the post-game stars were deserving. But this was surely a case where the unsung heroes were the Albany defensemen, four in number for the entire final 40 minutes (Allen; DeMarchi; Schultz and Brooks), who turned in a stellar performance.

This win for Albany evened the Rats vs. Falcons series at two apiece, with a pair of games remaining.

naihlflames 02-09-2005 09:55 PM

How is Bobby Allen looking in Albany?

MIKE4DEVILS 02-10-2005 06:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by naihlflames
How is Bobby Allen looking in Albany?

He has been looking better lately. At first, he was playing a finesse game, and not a physical game. For (I forgot how many, but quite a few), he actually didn't have any penalties.

However, with greater responsibility, including special teams assignments, he is showing himself to be a competent, all-around blueliner. He will never be a punishingly physical cruncher, but he shows promise as a mature defensemen who rarely gets burned or caught out of position.

7641 02-10-2005 11:16 PM

MIKE4DEVILS, are you writing those game articles? You seem to post shortly after the games conclude. If so, good job!

MIKE4DEVILS 02-11-2005 09:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 7641
MIKE4DEVILS, are you writing those game articles? You seem to post shortly after the games conclude. If so, good job!

Yeah, this is my stuff. I jump on the computer as soon as I drive home from the game.


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